EAEU countries increased import of goods to Russia by 30 percent

Foreign trade statistics are now closed by the Federal Customs Service of Russia (FTS), Rosstat does not have such data, nor does the Eurasian Economic Commission publish such statistics. The information was not disclosed, as the supply chains are monitored by unfriendly countries, experts explain. The Federal Customs Service told RG that the volume of parallel imports to Russia after its legalization is growing every month.

Officially, only a few figures are known so far. According to the Federal Customs Service, in the first three quarters of 2022, 1.6 million tons of various goods worth $12.6 billion were imported to Russia through parallel imports.

This flow was distributed between friendly and neutral countries. As can be judged from the statistics of the countries that are members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), our closest neighbors accounted for approximately 20-30 percent.

Armenia demonstrated the most noticeable growth dynamics. According to the statistics committee of this country, over the first 9 months of 2022, goods worth $1.4 billion were delivered to Russia, while over the same period last year, goods worth $593.1 million were imported into Russia. At the same time, imports to Armenia itself also increased from last year’s $840 million to $1.8 billion this year. In particular, the flow of goods from Germany soared from 71.9 thousand to 284 thousand dollars, from Greece – from 799 thousand to 56.8 million dollars, from Hong Kong – from 663 thousand dollars to 123.5 million dollars. Imports from Poland, Romania, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Great Britain also increased.

We increased the supply of goods from third countries to other neighbors. For the first 9 months of 2022, Kazakhstan imported goods worth $19.6 billion (last year it was $15.1 billion). At the same time, the import of goods to Russia from Kazakhstan increased from $5.1 billion in 2021 to $5.9 billion in 2022, by 15.7%. Deliveries to Kyrgyzstan from third countries more than doubled, to $4.7 billion. Only in Belarus, imports from third countries decreased. Apparently, parallel imports did not go to Russia through Belarus, which itself was affected by the sanctions.

The EAEU countries have become the main hubs for the supply of goods for parallel imports to Russia, says Irina Zasedatel, a member of the Presidium of the Association of Exporters and Importers. But many companies from unfriendly countries, to put it mildly, are reluctant to sign supply contracts with the EAEU countries, given the prospect of goods reaching Russia, she notes. Therefore, in addition to the closest neighbors, the flow of imports was also taken over by Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the expert says.

According to the Turkish Institute of Statistics, goods worth $5.7 billion were imported to Russia from Turkey in three quarters of this year, up 42.5% compared to the same period last year.

The country of supply for parallel imports depends on the product. In some cases, it is easier and cheaper to transport through the EAEU countries, in others – through other countries

Not everything went smoothly right away. In March, the import of goods from Turkey to Russia fell almost twice at once. But it recovered already in April, first to last year’s values, and then began to increase and in September it increased by 2.3 times compared to September 2021.

Parallel import refers to the import of original products into the country, but without the permission and notification of the copyright holder, the FCS explains. The list of such products is approved by the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade. The list includes imported products of companies that left Russia, which are not produced in the required volumes domestically. The main items of parallel imports are electronics, appliances, consumer goods, clothing, perfumes, the FCS specifies.

The goods are not just registered in neutral countries, but physically arrive there first. Therefore, the country of import of goods into Russia depends on the specific product. In some cases, it is easier and cheaper to transport goods through the EAEU countries, and in others – through other countries.

According to Yale University, which launched a project to identify companies that continue to operate in Russia after the start of a special military operation, 822 left. But it was not the exodus of these companies that caused parallel imports, but the disruption of supply chains, the FCS notes. At the same time, after the imposition of sanctions, imports to Russia decreased in waves, and not only from unfriendly countries.

According to Ekaterina Resnyanskaya, the general director of the Hermes company engaged in foreign economic activity, imports from Europe, where Germany and Italy were the largest partners for Russia, decreased by 50-60% in March, while supplies from China decreased by about 25%, from Taiwan – by 60% year on year.

And in this case, the EAEU countries also helped to replenish goods in Russia. For example, imports to the same Armenia from China for 9 months of 2022 increased by more than 10 times compared to the same period in 2021 (from $31.1 million to $495.6 million).

Actually, parallel imports went to Russia in early May-July, market participants point out. After trial batches, volumes began to rise by August.

But the departed brands are still trying to control sales, some companies interested in sales are afraid of liability in their own country. In such cases, manufacturers are asked to provide guarantees that the goods will not go to Russia, to indicate to which particular object the goods are sent, says the Assessor.

However, suppliers of goods for parallel imports are also learning to cover their tracks. Each incoming batch of goods is issued as the first, channels can be changed every week. “Now the countries involved in this process have begun to fear secondary sanctions, because every day such imports become much more complicated,” Resnyanskaya notes. “Some channels will close, others will open,” the Assessor reassures.

Source: Российская газета by rg.ru.

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